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Meet Annie Foulds: The new #GetFit4Free instructor

posted on Friday, 16th January 2015 | find under Fitness
On 22 January, Sweaty Betty will kick off its first #GetFit4Free programme of the year with the #SBFlyFlexFlow workout. It’s set to be the ultimate New Year fit kick, combining all the best fitness disciplines into one supercharged hour of exercise. Prepare for outdoor run intervals that will boost your heart rate and blitz through your festive excess, then shape up your muscles with full-body conditioning moves before unwinding with a yoga-inspired cool-down. For best results, you should complete the workout three times a week, following along at home with the online video or joining the in-store classes every Tuesday at the Sweaty Betty boutique nearest you.  

Here to help you prepare for the #SBFlyFlexFlow workout is Annie Foulds, Sweaty Betty Ambassador and the brains behind this innovative new regime...

What is unique about the new Fly Flex Flow workout? 

There is something for everyone with the new workout – I love how varied it is. The Fly is super high energy and really challenges the cardiovascular system, while the functional elements of the Flex section build all-round strength for every sport and discipline. Finally, the Flow section is a fantastic stretch and breathing session to help you extend the benefits of your workout throughout the day and week. 

There’s even versatility within the workout, with the option to take the run outdoors or stay inside and work up a sweat with a cardiovascular routine. 
What were your top considerations when devising the workout? 

I wanted a full body workout that covered and worked the three most important aspects of fitness: cardio, strength and flexibility. Although I wanted to keep the intensity really high because Sweaty Betty customers are already very fit and knowledgeable,  the routine is also easy to follow so you don’t have to think too much about the moves.  
Is there one piece of advice or top tip you can share with participants to help them get the most from their workout?

Just remember that every workout is YOUR workout. Push yourself out of your comfort zone a little bit more every time, and remember that by cheating you are only cheating yourself. Technique is especially important in this workout as you’re often working multiple muscle groups at once, so concentrate on the muscles involved and you’ll definitely feel the benefits the next day!  

Do you have any advice specific to the outdoor segment of the workout?  

If you are running solo, please run in a safe, brightly lit area. Wear the appropriate clothing – waterproofs, hats, gloves and good trainers. Also, make sure you are wearing something bright or reflective, like the Hypo Glisten Top or Hi Viz Fleece Earwarmer

When it comes to the workout, make sure you’re running with a tight core but relaxed shoulders. This will help you stay light on your feet and avoid channelling any unnecessary tension through your body. Tensing your glutes will also help you take the loads off your hamstrings and generate more power.    
You champion ‘relaxation’ at the end of every workout. Why is the Flow part of the workout just as important as the Fly and Flex?  

I think it’s important to find balance in life – to work hard but get enough rest to enjoy your work, too. Too much activity can actually spike your cortisol levels (stress hormones) and lead to illness or injury, so the Flow section is a chance to recharge your batteries and return your body to a relaxed state of being. Concentrating on the breath is also a way to increase your mind-body awareness and better understand your happiness or dissatisfaction outside of your workout. 

As a runner, you know the importance of practising conditioning and strengthening exercises to protect the joints and improve performance. How do you personally stay fit to run? 

As an endurance runner, it is essential for me to have a strong and perfectly aligned body. Anything weak or out of sync will eventually lead to injury.  My weekly routine consists of the following. 

Monday: Run at least 10 miles. 60 jumps squats and 200 abdominal-based reps
Tuesday: Run 7 miles, including kicking and skipping. Finish with burpees, jump squats and abs
Wednesday: Run 7 miles, plus bodyweight conditioning - abs 200 -  full body conditioning - no weights
Thursday: Run 8 miles of intervals. 60 jump squats and 200 abdominal-based reps 
Friday: Rest day 
Saturday:  Zumba/HIIT session or 7-8 mile run
Sunday: Run 10+ miles 

My average total mileage for a normal week is 50 miles, building up to 70/80 ahead of a marathon. Core work is essential for everyone, but it’s especially crucial for runners because it keeps your frame strong and light. 

Is there one move from the workout that you always include in your training sessions? Why is it so effective/important? 

Burpees! I know, everyone hates burpees, but they’re so effective because they use every part of your body in one movement. 
What’s your response to women who are afraid to flex, for fear of gaining bulk? 

Please do not be afraid. Science shows that it’s very difficult to build huge muscles on a woman as we simply don’t produce the testosterone levels to gain serious bulk. In fact, women are more prone to osteoporosis and therefore should be extra-dedicated to weight-bearing exercise because it helps to promote bone strength. 

Annie wears the Half Zip Windbreaker and Motion Run Tights

Watch the #SBFlyFlexFlow preview video and find out more about how you can Get Fit 4 Free with Sweaty Betty this January. Plus, join the conversation on Twitter and never miss an update!
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